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Ways To Encourage Our Students To Get Through “The Last Mile”

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I was reading an interesting article today headlined How Do We Solve the Last Mile? It discussed “the stubborn and persistent problems that trip us up so close to the finish line.” It offered suggestions like having college financial aid forms already pre-populated with a fair amount of student info as a way to encourage college entrance. In some way, the suggestions were similar to the idea of “nudges.”

Right after reading that piece, I saw a short excerpt from Dan Willingham’s new book on reading. MindShift published it as What Works For Getting Kids to Enjoy Reading?

In it, he shares a story a teacher told him about the book Guns, Germs, and Steel:

[The teacher] enthusiastically recommended it, and mentioned that he knew the school library had two copies. There were a few murmurs of interest. The next day he checked the library and found both copies still on the shelves. He checked them out, brought them to class, and asked if anyone was interested in reading this book he had mentioned. Five students raised their hands, and he gave the copies to the two most enthusiastic students. So five students were ready to give the book a try if someone put it in their hands, but going to the school library to find it seemed like too much trouble. The library, the teacher told me, was a 30-second walk from his classroom.

Both these articles got me wondering:

What are other “Last Miles” facing our students, and what can we do to help them get to the finish line?

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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